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The International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year China:
June 4th 1989:
Massacre in Tiananmen Square Several hundred civilians have been shot dead by the Chinese army during a bloody military operation to crush a democratic protest in Peking's (Beijing) Tiananmen Square. Tanks rumbled through the capital's streets late on 3 June as the army moved into the square from several directions, randomly firing on unarmed protesters. The injured were rushed to hospital on bicycle rickshaws by frantic residents shocked by the army's sudden and extreme response to the peaceful mass protest.

Tiananmen - Twenty years On
Dean Borok

Efforts by the Chinese government to suppress press and internet discussions of the twentieth anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre only substantiate my argument that China can never aspire to establishing a full-blown capital market in Shanghai by 2020, which is its stated intention.

China still detains up to 30 democracy protestors who were given the life sentences or death sentences that were commuted to life imprisonment for their activities of 20 years ago. This in addition to the thousands whose lives were forever ruined by the government for the crime of holding a peaceful demonstration.

Basically, I’m no moralist, but who would want to invest in a country where the population has no rights, where there are no effective laws or courts, where disputes are settled on the basis of personal connections to politically powerful figures, where intellectuals, journalists and artists have no freedom of expression that is not officially sanctioned, where financial reporting that can be considered detrimental to financial interests is outlawed under penalty of imprisonment.
Let’s say your company decides to manufacture photovoltaic cells in China and some politically connected guy decides to go into competition against you, stealing your processes; interfering with your suppliers; not allowing you to ship; arranging to have your books audited. What are your going to do, sue him? You can’t even complain to the press, for fear of being charged with economic sabotage. Even if some publication listened to your complaints, they would never publish them.

This is an old story. Handbag manufacturers who contracted with Chinese contractors found out that the contractors were producing an equivalent amount of pieces, which went out the back door and into the gray goods market. They tried suing them in court and ended up getting judgments for a few hundred measly renminbi. Ultimately, the only way to work in China is by establishing personal contacts, which, in plain English, means paying more out in bribes than your competitors.

I am not even going to address the morality of this mess, because the Republicans have cornered the market in terms of moralistic hypocrisy and I don’t want to contaminate myself by associating with them. But strictly from a standpoint of practicality, the only thing that keeps American corporations in China is the fantastic tax breaks that allow companies to warehouse their profits in offshore banking havens until Congress periodically passes tax amnesties that allow them to repatriate the money tax-free on the basis of promises to invest it, which never happens. The money goes into a black hole of structured finance deals that no auditor can ever hope to decipher.

If Obama keeps his promise to tax these overseas profits at the same rate as domestic income, American producers will make the determination that it’s more practical to set up business in places like Michigan, which has unlimited surplus capacity, a motivated workforce, enforceable laws and functioning courts and governmental transparency.

People have more freedom to express themselves than they have ever had before. They have got every kind of toy imaginable, and the end result is that they end up using all their junk to conform like a bunch of cretinous dolts.
That’s their choice. What do I care? Give me a harmonica and a pencil and paper and I’m happy, though nobody else even can stand me at all boo-hoo!

1984 - 60 Years On Just keeps getting Better (Orwell's novel first published June 8th 1949)
In the People’s Republic of China you don’t have the right to decide to be an idiotic conformist twit. The government gets to decide that for you. In a public relations blunder that makes even Dick Cheney look like a freakin genius by comparison, the Chinese government, on exactly the twentieth anniversary of the Tienanmen massacre, has issued a directive that mandates that all personal computers sold in that country must be fitted with software that can be controlled by the central authorities to block any internet content that it deems to be "harmful".

Not only that. This software, which is euphemistically labeled "Green Dam – Youth Escort", can monitor all computer use and transmit anything useful back to Control Central. Basically, this marks the end of freedom of expression in China, if it ever existed, which it never has. Going back to the ancient royal dynasties, it used to be common practice to bury writers alive if they wrote anything "harmful".

Naturally, computers manufacturers Hewlett Packard and Dell Computer, who respectively enjoy China market shares of 13.7% and 8.1%, have raised no objections. It’s this process of sucking outside interests into complicity with police state tactics if they want to continue to do business in the Chinese market that makes the arrangement all the more insidious. People want to make money, and rightfully so, but if you end up helping the authorities turn the population into a mindless herd of subservient barnyard creatures reminiscent of George Orwell’s "Animal Farm", what is the price of your soul?

Forget about industrial espionage. In today’s China, where there is no distinction between the bureaucracy and business interests, your competitors have only to monitor your emails to know everything you’re up to. I daresay, it doesn’t exactly require a Great Leap Forward to figure out that there is not one foreign company doing business in China that is not being spied upon by its own Chinese employees, who were implanted there for the express purpose of learning its industrial processes.

Chinese business practices do not travel well. Taiwan recently refused permission for an attempt by Chinese mobile operator China Mobile to get its hooks into FarEasTone. The Australian government and stockholders rebelled against an agreement that would have allowed Chinalco to double its stake in Rio Tinto, even though Rio Tinto is desperate for money. Who can blame these countries? Nobody wants to do business with a country that combines police state repression with mafia business ethics.

I doubt that China will ever grant me a visa to travel there. I guess I can forget my ambition to swim in the world’s biggest polluted mess!

© Dean Borok June 9th 2009
Siberia USA
Dean Borok
I never believed in the durability of the previous economic bubble when I saw the quality of the knuckleheads getting rich

Power Grab
Dean Borok
The U.S. press corps is pathetically myopic. They have the depth and consistency of processed cheese slices, knowing nothing of American history and even less than nothing about the lessons of world history

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